P. Mitchell Downey
"As resource constraints have tightened, the role of researchers in informing evidence-based and cost-effective decisions about the use of funds, labor, materials and equipment — and even the skills of workers — has increased. We [the authors] believe research that can inform decisions about resource allocation will be a central focus of criminal justice research in the years to come, with cost-benefit analysis (CBA) among the key tools" (p. 3). This is required reading for those individuals tasked with determining what the social impact of a criminal justice program will be (whether a benefit or not). It must be stressed that a CBA estimates social benefits not fiscal savings. This report is comprised of three sections: the basics of cost-benefit analysis—what and why, considerations in valuing time, what CBA can and can't do, and the four steps of a CBA; cost-benefit analysis in action—NIJ's Multi-site Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE); and results from the MADCE cost-benefit analysis.